Tag Archives | Silverlight

Who Needs Syncing?

Nearly two years ago, I reviewed internal documents about Microsoft’s plans to design and develop an entirely new operating system called Midori. While I am uncertain about the exact state of the project, bits and pieces of the Midori vision are emerging in the company’s latest technologies.

Owning a PC was once a big deal; now it’s common for multiple computers to reside under one roof. Today’s households are filled with PCs, Pads, and Pods–devices that are loosely synchronized and loaded with apps. Information and applications are getting distributed, with many pieces working in parallel. Midori is intended to support exactly that kind of distributed application architecture, and Microsoft assigned some of its top talent to support the project.

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5Words for March 19th, 2009

5words Like news? You’ll LOVE these!

Gizmodo tests WiMax, likes it.

Cisco flips for the Flip.

Hacker compromises Mac in seconds.

New features in Silverlight 3.

Sirius founder: Sirius is doomed.

New iPhone clues in beta?

Steve Ballmer’s still courting Yahoo.

Random rumor: OLED Macs, iPhones.

Dell’s Adamo notebook on sale.

iPhone tethering seems to work.

Sprint roadmap: Pre, other phones.

Mobile Firefox now in beta.

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Silverlight vs. Flash: The Winner is…Consumers!

At Microsoft’s MIX conference today, the company Silverlight 3.0,  a new version of its rich-media Web plug-in, that includes new multimedia capabilities that aim to it to parity with Adobe Flash, it can now run applications offline as well, as Adobe’a AIR can. Adobe will doubtlessly respond by improving both Flash and AIR, continuing its leapfrog race with Microsoft.

When Microsoft introduced Silverlight 2.0, it stripped out many of the advanced graphics capabilities found in Silverlight’s predecessor, the .NET Framework’s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Adobe responded by giving Flash Player custom effects and filters as well as GPU hardware acceleration in an attempt to differentiate its platform.

Microsoft must have been taking notes. Silverlight 3 uses hardware graphics acceleration and includes support for 3D effects. Those features can be used for viewing up high definition video or even to jazz up business applications. It also reaches outside of the browser, and is cross platform for Windows and Mac (Mono Moonlight, a Linux version, is progressing more slowly).

Let’s be realistic: Flash continues to dominate the Rich Internet Application space. However, Microsoft is now concentrating so much of its resources on Silverlight that there’s no way Adobe can regard it as anything other than a real threat to Flash’s pervasiveness. I say, let the two companies have at it. The Web applications that developers create using either platform will be more powerful and provide consumers with better, more useful, and more entertaining experiences.


Microsoft Shoots Back at Adobe Over Silverlight

Adobe CFO Mark Garrett seems to think that Silverlight is “fizzling,” but Microsoft begs to differ. The exec’s comments came as part of a broader talk on Adobe’s business at the homas Weisel Partners Technology & Telecom Conference being held this week in San Francisco.

Garrett’s contention is that while Silverlight may have launched strong, demand has fizzled out and Adobe has moved ahead in terms of innovation, with Microsoft struggling to catch up. He also suggested that the company may not have the “mindset” to be aggressive with pushing the technology forward, BetaNews reports.

Microsoft seems to beg to differer however. In a response to Garrett’s comments, the company told us that one in four computer users have access to Silverlight, with 100 million downloads of the newest version of the platform since October of last year.

There have also been some important wins for Microsoft as of late:

  • CBS extensively uses the platform to serve its content across its network of sites;
  • The Presidential Inauguration Committee chose Silverlight to webcast the swearing in of President Obama in January;
  • Netflix’s online streaming service is powered by Silverlight, allowing it to stream to both PC and Mac platforms.

Not too shabby for a platform that is apparently fizzling if Adobe is to be believed. Of course, Flash adoption is by far much more widespread, but let’s take into account the fact that the technology has been available for many more years than Silverlight has.

On a related side note, Moonlight 1.0 was officially released today, which is a open-source project to bring Silverlight to the Linux platform. The platform got its first big test during the inauguaration, when a preview version was released to allow Linux users to view the webcast.

According to Microsoft, the applicaition was downloaded some 20,000 times.


Report: Google Polishes Off Chrome

chromelogo2The browser was are heating up– again. Google vice president Marissa Mayer said that company’s Chrome browser is on the verge of coming out of beta, according to a report by TechCrunch. Chrome made its debut as a beta on September 2nd; for Google, a beta period of only a few months is a surprisingly short one.

Google’s applications are a likely vehicle for distributing Chrome, with Apple having paved the way for more aggressive bundling by tethering distribution of Safari to iTunes. There is also plenty of potential for high-profile promotion of Chrome at Google’s wildly popular Web properties, and the company has several hardware partners that could pre-load the browser on PCs.

Chrome is the bedrock for Google’s whole Web application platform. Its pillars are speed and stability: Chrome’s zippy JavaScript engine is at the top of the class, and its use of separate processes for browser tabs and windows can make browsing more reliable.

The arrival of Chrome has also pressured other browser makers such as Firefox to accelerate the performance of their JavaScript engines–making Google’s applications perform better across the board.

Google will be leveraging Chrome to deliver the open source Native Client project, a plug-in that permits Web applications to directly access hardware resources. Let’s hope that Native Client is effectively sandboxed so it can’t be abused by hackers, so we don’t revisit the bad old days of the ubiquitous ActiveX exploit. The more Google can blur the lines between client applications and Web applications, the more competitive it will be against entrenched software. CPU intensive software will no longer have to run on the desktop. The concept of what type of application a Web application can be would be drastically changed.

Chrome is based upon the WebKit open source project, making it easier for developers to make their sites and services Chrome-friendly, because it is not something entirely new. Google is likewise providing a framework for the development of secure Firefox-like extensions for Chome. Developers could very well fall in love with Chrome, but with technologies and tools from Adobe, Microsoft, Sun, and others in the mix, not to mention HTML 5, they may have to pick their side of the battlefield. You can see why it’s in Google’s best interest to release a Chrome that’s ready for prime time sooner rather than later.